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European Toy Safety Campaign: Ensuring safety for our children

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Safe and fun is the perfect combination, but it is actually not so obvious! What makes a toy safe to use will depend not only on the toy itself, but also on how it is used and the age of the child. What should you look for as a parent, to know if a toy is safe or not for your child?

Brussels, 29 November 2011. Christmas is a very busy time of year for Santa Claus. He has to get the sleigh ready, feed his reindeers, check his list to be sure he hasn't forgotten any good girls and boys…and make sure that the toys the elves have purchased are not only fun, but also safe! This year, his task will be easier than ever before: since July 2011, toys sold in the EU must satisfy the strictest safety rules in the world.

Safe and fun is the perfect combination, but it is actually not so obvious! What makes a toy safe to use will depend not only on the toy itself, but also on how it is used and the age of the child. What should you look for as a parent, to know if a toy is safe or not for your child?

To offer some good advice, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani is launching the European Toy Safety Campaign, intended to show how to get the safest toys, and how to use them safely. A video clip to be aired on TV stations around Europe explains the issues, reinforced by a card with safety tips to be handed out to consumers all over the EU when they are buying toys.

Vice-President Antonio Tajani stated: "I am launching this effort at Christmas time, when most toys will be bought. This year, toys sold in the EU will be safer than ever, and my campaign will enable parents to make the right choices for their kids." He added:  "I am happy that media, and hundreds of stores all over the EU, will participate in this campaign. But safety is of course important all year round, so let's now all make sure that we don't learn safety "by accident"!

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Tips to keep in mind while toy shopping

Never buy toys that do not have the CE marking
The CE marking is a commitment from the toy maker that the toy complies with all applicable EU safety rules, amongst the strictest world wide.
Do not buy toys with small detachable parts for children under 3 years of age.

Choking is a particular risk for children under 3 years old, because they tend to put everything in their mouths! Toys bearing this symbol are not suitable for children under 3.

Read all warning and instructions
Be aware of age and safety recommendations and take them seriously! Make sure the toy is appropriate for a child's age - consider he's temperament, habits, and behavior whenever you buy a new toy.

Keep an eye on children as they play
Make sure that all toys are played with as intended and are suitable for the age and abilities of the child. Supervising children while they play ensures safety while having fun.

Always buy toys from trustworthy shops and online outlets
They take care about the toys they sell and will usually accept returns. Carefully check toys bought second-hand and toys given away by friends. As they are older, they may not meet current safety standards. 
Always report a safety problem with a toy to the manufacturer or the retailer where you bought it.

Postcards handed out in shops
Many toy shops in Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Greece, Romania, the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Austria will distribute in their shops the cards with the toy safety tips.
Toy shops interested in joining the campaign, may contact the European Commission.

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